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Ed tech should listen to educators

Ed tech should listen to educators

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Sean Michael Morris is Vice President and Course Hero scholar. He was a co-author of The Urgent Need for Teachers: The Work of Critical Digital Pedagogy and was previously a Senior Lecturer in Teaching, Design, and Technology at the University of Colorado at Denver.

For more than two decades, educational technology has been forcing universities to invest in products that promise to make learning more effective, education more accessible and students more successful on their path to graduation. The bottom line is that ed tech offers solutions to the problems faced by teachers, from plagiarism and deception to communicating with students and monitoring their success. But more often than not, ed Tech believes it understands teaching better than teachers, and neglects to listen to educators about how learning actually happens.

If ed tech is really interested in student success, the industry needs to hear what faculty say.

Sean Michael Morris

Sean Michael Morris

Permission is given by the Hero of the course

Ed tech is efficiency oriented. The Learning Management System, or LMS – a technical tool with which most college students and faculty are in constant contact – is designed to move students from one semester to the next and eventually to graduation. Functionally, the LMS is a space for downloading assignments, filling out questions for discussion, taking tests, and recording grades. Within this functionality, it is suggested that learning can be instrumentalized in these components for efficiency and effectiveness. Many institutions use learning management systems precisely because their effectiveness maintains faster and more reliable performance. Therefore, efficiency-oriented ed tech is the perfect solution.

But efficiency does not necessarily mean student success; and student success does not depend solely on grades. Student success lies in meeting students ’needs, developing their creativity and resourcefulness, and improving their lives – things that go far beyond the binary behavioral approach to reward and punishment in most classroom technologies.

Most teachers know better than to believe that the right answers equate to student success. As we see a fundamental shift in student demographics over the past decade, from students who were once called “unconventional” to recognizing that students working with families and other responsibilities have now become “new traditional,” we are talking about success. students and, accordingly, ed tech, should also shift. And if we are smart, higher education will move from an institutional-oriented model that deals with the number of graduates to a model that focuses on students and their lives. Such a model would require ed tech to move from a focus focused on efficiency to something rooted in connections and relationships.

When I taught online classes, I did everything I could to overcome rare technology. To get to know my students better, I read all of their posts for discussion and took note of what they wrote and did not write. When students wrote more or less comments, stopped publishing altogether, or said something about it, I knew something was wrong and turned to it.

Sometimes sick. Sometimes they got tired of working too much. Sometimes – and this applies to an increasing number of college students – they have trouble finding food, shelter or caring for others. basic needs. My training and experience as an educator helped me see when students were experiencing difficulties, and helped me provide them with the support they needed. Was it effective? Not at all. Did it help the students succeed? In almost every case.

Ed Tech needs to talk to faculty, faculty at all levels where technology is used to build solutions to real-world problems in teaching and learning.

Teachers need classroom technologies that help them connect and strengthen relationships with their students. They want autonomy to embrace and teach their students in ways that are informed of their own education and experience. They want to have the freedom and creativity to make different and more effective use of technology in the classroom and explore those moments that can be taught that distract them from the curriculum. Teachers want a product that responds to what is really going on in the classroom and in students ’lives. They do not need educational technology that supports the learning process, but pedagogical technology that complements their role as educators.

Too often ed tech thinks he speaks the language of education, but actually talks to past teachers – or just says too much. By listening to teachers, ed tech can develop products to give teachers the tools they actually need for on-screen learning to reach, validate and empower students, and change for the better how institutions think about student success.

Ed Tech has the power to make education a more humane experience, but only if its creators listen.

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